Tuesday, September 30, 2008

JUST ANOTHER DAY IN AFRICA


An old friend of mine who used to live in Zambia sent me the most astonishing photographs of elephants at Mfuwe Lodge, South Luanga National Park, Zambia. The lodge was unwittingly built on the herds migratory path to some wild mango trees on the property but the dozen or so elephants aren't going to let a little thing like that hinder them.
They lumber through the reception area at least twice a day for 4 weeks or so to feed on the mangos on the other side. Then for another 3 weeks they pop in for tea whenever they feel peckish. Apparently over the years they have become very relaxed and often explore the reception area. Everybody treats them with the utmost respect and no incidents have been reported to date!
"Wonky Tusks", a female elephant (above) who visits every year brings her babies along and passes down the knowledge of this picnic spot to the youngsters.
All photographs belong to Mfuwe Lodge. There are more photographs here.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

"YOU CAN BUY MY HEART AND MY SOUL"


This sculpture/installation by Andries Botha touches my heart. It is called "You can buy my heart and my soul" and consists of 9 life sized elephants constructed of thousands of little wooden pieces, bolted onto metal frameworks.



Andries Botha who comes from my neck of the woods in KwaZulu Natal, enlisted the help of several traditional carvers to help construct the elephants. There is something about these elephants walking into the sea that effects me to the point of tears.



They were originally made for the Beaufort 2006 Art Project in Belgium and graced the beach at De Panne for 6 months. Imagine seeing a herd of elephants walking along a windsept beach and into the sea. An awesome sight!


They were moved to the Antwerp Zoo as part of the zoo's "Year of the Elephant" theme.


All the photographs above come from Botha's website. To see more go here.


This photograph is the property of http://www.hotels-belgium.com/

An interesting site for African Elephant facts here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

SNOW


After a week of heat we are now surrounded by snow. A Winter wonderland in Spring.



It's not that common to have snow close by so everyone celebrated out in the countryside. Fields were filled with very happy rosy cheeked children having snow fights and building snowmen. All the cars coming back from the outskirts had snowmen on their bonnets. It really was a wonderful day!


Thursday, September 11, 2008

COLLAGE FOR SELF DISCOVERY


This week I started an online Intuitive Collage course with Shelley Klammer. (Collage For Self Discovery).
"This is a course in authentic, creative self-expression through collage. This is for those who may doubt their creative powers, yet long to be creative, and for those who want to deepen their self-awareness and cultivate a more solid and joyful connection to their inner, authentic self."
I am really enjoying it and though I'm still in the first week of the course I've already had a few AHA! moments. In the past when I've started a collage I tended to overthink it and tie myself up in knots, get frustrated, get bored and then give up before it was completed. This is the first time I have created a collage intuitively, choosing each element because it "jumps out at me" rather than it being a case of, I must find something red that goes with such and such a theme. And yet a theme does appear but I only noticed it half way through the collage.

The wierd thing about these collages is that I will go off and do something else for a while and when I return to touch them up, I'm quite surprised by them. It's almost as if someone else has created them. I put this down to the fact that I'm feeling the process rather than thinking it. A right brain process rather than a left brain process.
It's also been a great opportunity to loosen up and play......and whilst playing I am experiencing insights which of course is the whole object of the exercise.
"My collage unfolds with a force greater and more generous than I could ever plan for. The patterns and colors are instantly opulent and richly detailed. I find a warm red Celtic scroll, a verdigris fossil. I look for small finishing details, a wing from a bird, a ladybug, a church steeple. Finally it feels finished and I feel complete, more whole than when I began. I look up at the clock. Where has the last hour gone?" - Shelley Klammer
If you want to check this course out click here.

Monday, September 8, 2008

"NATURE'S CHILD"



"And what is it to work with love?"
"It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit". - Kahlil Gibran



It's been a strange journey creating these totems over the last 2 years. I've learned so much about myself and remembered things from my childhood that I had forgotten. Aspects of myself that I need to celebrate. Aspects that make me who I am.


In a way I am also paying homage to those friends and bloggers who feel the same way about nature as I do. Lynne Hoppe , Kate Strickland and Gwen Buchanan immediately come to mind....and there are many others.



Carving the Nature series has been a turning point. I'm not sure how or why except for a feeling of having found myself again. Now more than ever I am convinced that creating art heals. It is one of life's little miracles.

"Creativity exists more in the searching than in the finding". - Stephen Nachmanovitch

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

SILENCE AND SOLITUDE


"That is what is strange - that friends, even passionate love, are not my real life unless there is time alone in which to explore and to discover what is happening or has happened, Without the interruptions, nourishing and maddening, this life would become arid. Yet I taste it fully only when I am alone....". - May Sarton.



I've been up working in the courtyard since 7 this morning. There is a soft breeze and the air is loaded with the fragrance of Yesterday, today and tomorrow. It's far too beautiful to go inside to tap out my blog post so I'm sitting right here, sipping coffee, ruminating and jotting down my thoughts in a notebook. I have the dogs at my feet to keep me company and a lone monkey sunning herself on the roof.



My husband left for the Transkei in the early hours. He helps a friend with his fishing safari business and they are taking clients to the Wild Coast for a week long South African adventure. The one chap, out from Germany, loved the last trip so much that he booked 2 years in advance. He can't understand a word of English (besides fish) and my husband can't understand a word of German (besides strudel) ...and yet they get on like a house on fire.
Happy client snoozing after a long morning of fishing.
For the time being my home is quiet and I am enjoying the silence and the solitude. The other day I was labelled a loner simply because I like to be quiet and contemplative when I create my art. It's a sacred time for me. Not only is it therapeutic but it's also my means of making a living.There's a quote I relate to very well by Anne Morrow Lindbergh.
"What a commentary on civilization, when being alone is being suspect; when one has to apologize for it, make excuses, hide the fact that one practices it - like a secret vice."


As I work on "Nature's Child" I recognise in her, so many bloggers that I "chat" to. Those who love to collect nature's detritus whilst wandering through forests, streams and along the sea shore. Gentle folk who share an affinity with the creatures around us. I'm connecting with my art more now then ever, perhaps because I am allowing myself to flow into the art.


BTW, Don Madden has given me a very generous mention on his blog. He and his wife Susan share their love for arting and crafting and what I love about the two of them is that they go off on art retreats together, usually different courses but common venues and then converge later to share their experiences. How wonderful is that?